Proposals to regenerate and transform the town centre of Bury have been warmly welcomed by residents, businesses and agencies.
More than 600 people took the opportunity to view the plans during a six-week consultation period, which has just ended.
The masterplan sets out a long-term vision for the next 15-20 years. It includes major changes in the town centre, especially around the Mill Gate centre with new shops, leisure, residential and business opportunities.
Other proposals include a new Flexi Hall next to Bury Market, a new transport interchange and wider education and employment opportunities. Bury recently won £20 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to help deliver on these priorities.
The consultation revealed that more than three quarters of respondents agreed with the masterplan’s vision, with the main priorities listed as: retaining shops and addressing vacancies; improving the quality of streets and public spaces; and economic future and land use.
A particularly high proportion of respondents agreed with ‘supporting growth sectors and innovation’ (88.4%), ‘upskilling (and reskilling) the local community’ (87.7%), and ‘improving health and wellbeing’ (85.6%).
All of the proposed Character Zones were largely supported, the highest being: Zone A – Retail Heart (81.5%); Zone B – Vibrant Bury (80.8%); and Zone C – Cultural Quarter (77.4%).
Among the issues raised during the consultation included: retaining car parking; improving travel infrastructure; tackling crime; maintaining green spaces; providing affordable housing on brownfield sites; refurbishment of Bury Market; preserving heritage assets; and retaining local businesses.
Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, leader of the council, said: “These are major proposals, designed to improve the town centre, adapt to the many challenges of today, and ensure that they can flourish for generations to come.
“I am delighted that so many people took the time to read the proposals and give us their views.
“While the masterplan covers a period of 20 years, a number of improvements can be delivered in the short to medium term. These include building a new flexi-hall next to an improved Bury Market; taking forward proposals to transform the Mill Gate centre; redevelopment of the transport interchange; bringing a new hotel to the old fire station site; and developing Phase 2 of Chamberhall into a thriving business district.”
The council will now work with CBRE, its appointed agent which has been leading on developing the masterplan.
Rhian Davitt-Jones, director of CBRE Limited, said: “Bury has a lot to offer for prospective investors and partners and we’re excited to support the council in taking the masterplan through to delivery and engaging with key stakeholders to realise Bury town centre masterplan’s vision.”
The masterplan can be viewed on the council’s website at bury.gov.uk/burymasterplan or at Bury Town Hall and Bury Library.